HELLO FALL! How to Make Paper Mache Pumpkins

HOW TO MAKE PAPER MACHE PUMPKINS

Welcoming Fall is always fun, because I can start making more paper mache pumpkins! If you know me, you know that I have made many paper mache pumpkins, a paper mache mummy, and a paper mache fireplace. I had a thought that I wanted to try, and I decided to go “smaller” this time around with some cute paper mache pumpkins.

Here’s how I made them!

I started off with blowing up two balloons nice and small. I did try tying a string around one of the balloons, but it did not make a difference, so I did not use it on the second one.

PUMPKIN SMALL1

Next, I mixed up some flour and water and made a paper mache paste. That is all I use when making my pumpkins, and you want the paste to be like a pancake batter, not too thick, not too runny. (use a wire whisk when mixing up your paste)

Now comes the fun part! Make sure you have lots of little strips of newspaper cut up, dip each piece in the paper mache paste, and run the strip through two fingers to remove the excess. Then place piece by piece on your balloon. Run your fingers over each piece so that they are laying flat on the balloon. Keep going until the entire balloon is covered really well. Let your paste dry. I normally get out my small heater and place it next to my object to get it to dry faster. Once it is good and dry, you need to add another layer of paper mache newspaper strips all around the balloon. Let that layer dry, and keep doing this step over and over until you have a pumpkin that is so hard that you cannot push in any part of it. THIS PART IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

PUMPKIN SMALL2

Once your pumpkin is formed and nice and hard, you are now ready to draw a face on your pumpkin. You can use a pencil to draw your face on, or a Sharpie Marker.

PUMPKIN1

Once you get the face drawn the way you want it, you carefully take your sharp knife out and cut out the face. Go slow in this process so you do not slip and cut yourself!

PUMPKIN2Since I am making really small pumpkins here, the openings on the face are too small for me to insert a battery operated tealight in it, so I cut a round opening in the back of the pumpkin for this purpose.

PUMPKIN5

Wait, I am not yet done yet at this point. Since the face and the hole in the back are now cut out, I want to make nice smooth edges around what I just cut out, so I placed a few more pieces of the newspaper strips dipped in the paper mache mix around the face and the hole in the back. Let it dry.

PUMPKIN4

Now it is time for the paper mache pumpkin to be painted. What I do for all of my paper mache pumpkins, is to lightly and I mean lightly, spray paint the pumpkins with flat black paint. I do not cover the entire pumpkin all in black, but rather get it slightly covered as a base coat.  Once the flat black has dried, I am ready for the orange top coat.

PAINTING BASE COAT

Just like the base black coat, I lightly spray paint my orange top coat over the pumpkin so that some of the black shows through. I think this make the pumpkin look so much better.

I decided that my pumpkins needed something. I felt that they needed to be on display, and what better way to display them than with a cute base! I used a $1 glass candle stick base that I found at the Dollar Store, and spray painted it with a Hammered Black paint. I went over the candle stick two times just to make sure that it was evenly coated. The last thing that I did was to spray paint a clear coat over the pumpkins to keep the paint sealed.

PAINTING THE BASE

BASE

The last thing that I did was to glue the pumpkin onto the candle stick base, and I now have an adorable pumpkin decoration! One thing to note when lighting up any paper mache pumpkins, is to never ever use a real candle in your pumpkins, as they could definitely catch on fire! Always use a battery operated tealight in them for safety!

PAINTING PUMPKINS ORANGE

My finished paper mache pumpkins are approximately 6″ and will definitely add some flare to my Halloween decorations around the house! Now that I see how cute these turned out, I have already started on a few more because I know that they will look great in every room of the house! Now, back to the Dollar Store for more glass candle sticks!

Our Fascination with Pumpkins

Where does our love for pumpkins come from?

  • Is it from that little white seed that you saved from last year’s pumpkins that you plant in the ground and watch it grow?
  • Is it from the idea of what you do with that pumpkin once it has grown? Like carving them into masterpieces!
  • Is it your love for pumpkin pie? (get the Cool Whip ready!)
  • Is it your love for drying the seeds & eating them?
  • Is it from your love for the Fall Season?

No matter what your own love affair is with pumpkins, it is all valid. We try to grow a crop of pumpkins every year with high hopes that we can produce at least two pumpkins that we can carve for Halloween. At least that is our goal every year.

Last year we failed tremendously with our pumpkin crop. We failed only because we dumped too much coffee grounds around our pumpkins and they died off. Bummer. We won’t be making that same mistake this year, as we learn from all of our gardening experiences.

We are about six weeks into growing our pumpkins in our fenced in garden area, and every day we head out back to see how they are doing. We are shocked every day. I told you that pumpkins do a lot of their growing at night, so finding lots of new growth in the morning is not a shock at all.

The bees are buzzing around the pumpkin flowers, doing their job pollinating them perfectly, and when they are slacking in their job, I personally pollinate the pumpkins myself with a Q-Tip.

Which brings up a thought. Do you know the difference between a female and a male pumpkin flower?  If you don’t know, I’ll tell you…just ask me!

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FEMALE AND MALE PUMPKIN FLOWER

I put together a few photographs of our pumpkins progress, so you can see how well they are growing. We are so pleased!

JUNE 1 2014A

We added more soil to this bed this year, and lots of Miracle Gro Soil.

JUNE 5 2014A

I started 18 pumpkins indoors when I had the grow lights still out.

JUNE 8 2014A

The pumpkins checking out their new home.

JUNE 13 2014A

In this photo, I used Fiji water bottles to cover up newly planted cantaloupes, and the water bottles behind the row of pumpkins… are MORE pumpkins.

JUNE 16 2014A

When the pumpkin plant started to grow under the water bottles and got big enough, I removed the bottle. The lids are off all the bottles so the plants got air.

JUNE 18 2014A

Pumpkins are establishing nicely here.

JUNE 28 2014A

Then all of a sudden…BOOM! It’s a pumpkin explosion!

JULY 1 2014A

I take it that the pumpkins like this spot this year!

JULY 3 2014A

Every day we see more new growth!

JULY 8 2014A

I think we need more space.

JULY 13 2014A

The pumpkin vines are extending everywhere and even up the back of the fence too!

JULY 16 2014A

And, last but not least, we have today’s view of our pumpkin patch. We have one nice sized pumpkin growing up the back fence, so at least we know we have one keeper. The pumpkin vines are creeping out of the bed to the left and to the right, so finding the pumpkins to pollinate will be easier. Pretty soon, we will be tip-toeing through pumpkin vines while trying to pick tomatoes in our garden! (I can so see that happening!)

If you need some pumpkin inspiration, check out my Pinterest Halloween Pumpkins Board!

So what do you think of our awesome pumpkin patch? Do you know the difference between a female and a male pumpkin flower?

Paper Mache Pumpkin No. 5

I can’t help myself.  These pumpkins are addicting to make.  I am on Pumpkin No. 5 right now, and have No. 6 in the works.  Pumpkin No. 6 will be a much smaller pumpkin that I am going to pose in the hand on Skully in the front yard as he is holding up my handmade pallet coffin.

HOW TO PAPER MACHE A PUMPKIN

PAPER MACHING PUMPKIN NO 5

Pumpkin No. 5 is by far my thickest pumpkin ever!  I used my Evolv Jigsaw and a drill to carve out the face.  You start with the drill to make an entry point for the saw blade, then slow the speed down on your jigsaw a bit and carefully follow the face drawn on the pumpkin.  

CUTTING FACE OUT WITH JIGSAW

I drew a few mouths and eyes by hand on the pumpkin before I found one that I liked.  I know, they all could have been ok, but since I am perfecting my pumpkins as I work with the paper mache, I am going for perfection.  After I got the face that I wanted, it was time to get to work and cutout the face.

PAPER MACHE PUMPKIN NO 5 CLOSEUP

I cut one of my pumpkins with an Xacto Knife, but that took me close to an hour to cutout the face, so I changed to the Evolv Jigsaw to make this part of the process much quicker.  You have to be extremely careful when using any saw, but you work slowly and keep all of your fingers out of the way of the blade, and you will be ok.

REMOVING STUFFING

I have learned a lot from making all of these paper mache pumpkins, and one thing that I have learned is that you MUST stuff the plastic bag really full of crumpled newspaper so that the pumpkin holds its shape.  This photo shows how much “stuffing” came out of this pumpkin.  When you remove the stuffing (aka, crumpled newspaper) from the pumpkin, you keep it for your next pumpkin.  Why reinvent the wheel and crumple more paper, when you already have a bag full of stuffing!

PAPER MACHE PUMPKIN NO 5 GLOWING

Since these pumpkins are not sealed for outside weather conditions, we are currently only placing them in our front windows at night so everyone can see them.  If we left them outside, they probably would be damaged due to water or the dew that sets in overnight.  I might try some of that Flex Seal product on one pumpkin before I paint it, to see if that product will work with sealing the paper mache and holding its shape.  Anyhow, with the amount of pumpkins I have now, I wanted to place them in the windows, but had no table to place them on.  Had to fix this problem…

With all of my craft projects, I use what we have around the house.  I save a lot of odd things, just in case I need them, one being the nice hard cardboard kitty food boxes.  These came in handy for making a table.  I just took three empty kitty food boxes and two old UPS shipping boxes and taped them together.  Then I mixed up a batch of paper mache (flour & water) and went to work!  The UPS boxes made the perfect top & bottom to my little table, as the kitty food boxes made the perfect column.

PUMPKIN ON STAND

So, what do you think of Pumpkin No. 5?  It still needs to be painted, but it looks great in the front window, even unfinished.  I also used one of our LED camping lights inside this pumpkin instead of the orange Halloween lights which makes it glow differently than the others.  Variety is the spice of life!

How to Make Paper Mache Pumpkins & More!

JACK SKELETON PAPER MACHE PUMPKIN

Let’s get down to business… so you want to learn how to make a paper mache pumpkin?  You’ve come to the right place, so let’s get started.

PAPER MACHE PUMPKIN GRIN2

Here’s what you will need to create a paper mache pumpkin:

  • Newspaper & lots of it for the stuffing
  • Newspaper ripped into nice even strips
  • Plastic Bag (any size will do)
  • String
  • Metal Coat Hanger
  • Large Bowl
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Whisk
  • Xacto Knife or Jigsaw

That’s all you need to create anything in paper mache!  And you thought it was going to be hard to do.  I’ll be honest with you, it is not hard at all, but it does take time…. drying time, that is.

If you are sitting here reading this post and have even slightly considered trying to make some (or one) paper mache pumpkins for yourself for Halloween or even for your Fall decor, now is the time to do something about it!  Creating paper mache objects is fun and easy to do with your family and kids, but I am sure that they will get bored easily when it comes to the “drying time” in between all the layers you need to put on. I hope that I can inspire you to create your own pumpkins for Halloween, and if you do, please share with me what you have made!

Creating paper mache pumpkins is a lot of fun, especially when you start to see your pumpkin coming to life, and well, actually looking like a pumpkin.  I admit it, I start one pumpkin, and right after the first layer dries, I want so badly to paint it already, but know that I am not even close to being done yet, as it has many more layers of paper mache to go before it is completed.

So you have the list of things that you need (above) to start creating your first pumpkin, so let’s begin….

THE PLASTIC BAG

TIE STRING AROUND BAG TO FORM PUMPKIN

Start with any sized plastic bag you wish.  I have used those white tall kitchen bags, and even the large 33 gallon ones too, so it all depends on the what size of pumpkin you want to create.

Now, grab a stack of newspaper and crumble up the pages (but not too tight) and stuff them in the bag.  Stuff the bag as much, or as little as you want, but your “pumpkin form” should be somewhat firm or your pumpkin shape will flatten when you start applying the paper mache.  (you’ll understand this concept more clearer when it happens on one of your pumpkins!)

Once you have the bag filled with enough crumbled newspaper, you need to tie off the top of the bag.  You can use the handles on the bag or just twist it at the top, or you could use twine or masking tape too.

Now that your bag is filled and the top is tied, you need to create the stem for your pumpkin.  I have used a few methods for a stem, but you can be creative in this step. Take a metal clothes hanger and snip off the top part.  You will now be wrapping the metal clothes hanger around the top of your pumpkin to start your stem.  (you can even poke the clothes hanger into the section where you tied the bag)  Form the clothes hanger now into any “stem shape” you want.  I have done some nice curvy stems with a clothes hanger.  Just so you know the reason you are using a clothes hanger in this step, is because it will hold its shape when you start applying the paper mache to it.  (believe me, on my first pumpkin I did not use a clothes hanger in the stem and just rolled up some newspaper, dipped it in the paper mache, and thought it would keep its shape.  It did not)  Any questions on this part, just ask me.

Now, you have created your basic pumpkin form & the stem!

THE STRING

I bet you are wondering what the string was for, right?  Well, the string plays an important part in your pumpkin, as it creates the natural-looking pumpkin creases. You know what I’m talking about…those nice lines that run down the side of the pumpkin!

Start by tying your end of the string to your stem.  Pull the string down the side of your plastic bag (and pull kinda tight) and you will see a crease starting.  Now, wrap the string up and around the other side, come up to the top (wrap it around the stem, again) and go down another side and up again, until you have created all the creases you wish on your pumpkin.  Make as many as you want or just a few.

Now you have created your pumpkin creases!  Congratulations!  Are you excited yet?

GET READY TO PAPER MACHE

PAPER MACHE MIX

Now, it is time to start the paper maching process!  Grab that large bowl, your whisk, and your bag of flour and head on over to your sink.  Place your bowl in the sink, dump some flour into the bowl (you don’t have to measure the amount of flour you use) and add some water.  Start whisking immediately!  You want to add enough water (but slowly) to make a pancake-like thick (but not too thick) batter.  Believe me, you will get better at mixing your batter with all the layers you will be adding, so don’t worry at this point, just make sure that your batter is not too thick or too watery.

Grab that huge pile of ripped up strips of newspaper because you are ready to start paper maching your pumpkin.  Make sure your pumpkin is on a plastic tarp or something to cover your floor, as this part can be a bit messy.

FIRST LAYER OF PAPER MACHE

Take one newspaper strip and lay it flat into the paper mache batter and either run the strip between your two fingers to remove the excess paper mache, or you can do what I do and run the newspaper strip up the side of the bowl and rub off the excess batter this way.

Now, just place your first batter-dipped piece of newspaper on top of your pumpkin. You need to always start at the top of your pumpkin and work your way down.  Once you get one layer on the top half of your pumpkin, you need to let it dry or place it in front of a small heater like I do, to hurry along the drying process.  Then, you flip your pumpkin over and paper mache the bottom half, and let the bottom half dry.  Once the entire pumpkin has one layer on it, and it has dried thoroughly, you will need to add more layers.

IMPORTANT TIPS:  When adding your first layer of paper mache, make sure you use your finger tips to poke your newspaper strips nicely into the creases you made with the string.  This part is important as it adds character to your pumpkin.

Also, make sure you run your hand flat over each strips when applying them to squeeze out any excess paper mache batter.  Always keep running a flat hand over your strips as you work your way around the pumpkin.  Another good tip is to position your layers in different directions on your pumpkin, as this will add strength when it hardens.

I have had a lot of people ask me the question “How do I know if I have enough layers of paper mache on my pumpkin?”  Well, that is a good question and can be easily answered.  After each layer of paper mache has dried, gently push down on your pumpkin all around and if there is any “give” on the pumpkin….. it needs more layers. Your completed pumpkin should be very hard when you tap or knock on it.

CUTTING THE FACE

CUTTING PAPER MACHE PUMPKIN WITH A JIGSAW

When you have completed your paper mache pumpkin and feel that it is hard enough with no “give” on any part of it, it is time to cut out your face.

ADDED TEETH TO PUMPKIN

Look at your pumpkin.  Twist it around to see what side looks best to cut out a face on it.  Once you find the side you like, simply draw a face on the side of your pumpkin with a pencil.  Start off with a pencil so you can make changes if you don’t like what you drew, then go over your pencil marks with a Sharpie Marker when you are satisfied.

ADDING DEPTH TO EYES

I used to cut the faces out of my pumpkin with an Xacto Knife, but ever since I have increased the layers on my pumpkins to make them thicker, I found that an Xacto Knife was too hard to use.  So, I resorted to my trusty Jigsaw.  On my pumpkins, I just drill a hole large enough for my Jigsaw blade to fit in.  You could also use a Dremmil too if you have one to cut out the face.

Once your face is cut out, you will now need to REMOVE all of the newspaper stuffing & plastic bag from inside your pumpkin!  The reason you do not remove the stuffing before is because the stuffing is holding the shape of your pumpkin.  You will need to get your Xacto Knife or Jigsaw and cut a circle on the bottom of your pumpkin.  This is where you will pull all of the stuffing out from.  Remove all the newspaper (and keep the stuffing too, so you can use it on your next pumpkin) and carefully pull the plastic bag out too that is now stuck to the inside of your pumpkin.  The string is probably stuck to the inside sides as well, and you can remove that too, but be careful when pulling this out, as you do not want to damage your pumpkin.  Make sure that everything is cleaned out from the inside of your pumpkin at this point.

You will need to add more paper mache strips around the cutout face edges to finish off the edges nicely.  The hole at the bottom of your pumpkin will be used to place your battery operated light inside your pumpkin after you paint it.  I was going to use these small battery operated LED lights that I have, but realized that I wanted more light to make my pumpkins glow.  I found a round Camping Light at the Dollar Store for $5 which has different light settings and is brighter than the other LED’s, so this is what I will be using in my pumpkins.

CAMPING LIGHT

PAINTING THE PUMPKIN

Yeah, it’s finally time to paint your pumpkin!  Congratulations!  You have accomplished a lot, but have created a one-of-a-kind pumpkin that you will cherish forever!

Take your pumpkin outside for some good ventilation, and pick out the colors you want to spray paint it.  TIP:  I have learned from some experienced pumpkin creators, that you should spray paint the inside of your pumpkin yellow.  They use yellow inside their pumpkins so when lit, it makes them glow better, but you can use orange or whatever color you choose, as this is YOUR pumpkin.  I would spray paint the inside of the pumpkin first, let it dry.  Then place some newspaper inside the pumpkin to cover up the face holes when spray painting the outside, as you do not want any over spray to get inside.

Once the spray paint has completed dried, spray a clear coat over the entire pumpkin, both inside and out.

You are now officially ready for Halloween!

These are the pumpkins that I am currently working on, in various stages (and I am starting on a new one today too).

MY PAPER MACHE FIREPLACE

Just starting to paint the fireplace.

BeFunky_FIREPLACE GETTING PAINTED

This is a photograph that I found on how the finished fireplace will look.  I will spray paint the entire fireplace black, then I will hand stencil the white diamonds all over the front and sides/back of the fireplace.  (by painting it these colors, I can also use this fireplace for Christmas time too!)

BeFunky_THE FINISHED LOOK

MY PAPER MACHE PUMPKINS

PAPER MACHE PUMPKINS

As you can see from above, my huge Jack Skeleton pumpkin has the camping light inside of it.  Isn’t it bright?

Stay tuned, as I work on finishing all of my pumpkins, the fireplace, and the paper mache witch that I am currently working on.  You will be amazed at the end results!

 

Garden Update: 7-29-13

THE CYCLE OF A TOMATO

I just realized that we’re in our eleventh week of gardening, and what an adventure we have had.  I almost don’t want to make this statement, that we have not had any issues lately from any critters because I am scared to think that after I make this statement…something will happen.  Ya know that Murphy’s Law thing.  But, we have not had any attacks and we are so pleased.

OUR GARDEN 7-29-13

The garden is now starting to produce both Juliet and Big Boy Tomatoes now, and like I have said before, this seems kinda late but it’s because all of our plants were damaged from that deer attack and are finally back on track again.  We picked our first tomatoes a few days ago and every day that passes, more are ripening!

JULIET TOMATO 7-29-13

So get ready friends and family for some good home grown tomatoes, because we are going to have a lot to share.  We are definitely going to get our fair share of them and last night I had some Juliets and cucumbers in Italian Dressing with dinner.  (The cucumber was not from our garden, rather our neighbors.  He grows the best cucumbers around, and makes the best pickles too)

ROY WITH FIRST PICKED TOMATOES

Our cucumbers are starting to produce into some nice sizes, so the bees are doing their job properly and pollinating what they should.

CUCUMBER 7-29-13

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 7-29-13

We’re still watching our pumpkins to see if there are any starting to form, and we had one little one, but it turned yellow and that means that it was not pollinated.  (a yellow little pumpkin is no good)  We are just hoping that the bees do their job properly on the pumpkins too, and generate us some pumpkins that we can carve for Halloween.

LEAF LETTUCE 7-29-13

RED PEPPER 7-29-13

BIG BOY TOMATO 7-29-13

All in all, the garden is doing well.  Our weather has cooled off dramatically from our week long 90+ temps, and this morning when I woke up the thermometer said 56 degrees.  Going to be in the 70’s today.  Heading outside to do some weeding & watering.  Gotta hugs our plants today & give them some love.

Garden Update: 6-24-13

OUR GARDEN 6-24-13

I know you are all on pins and needles anxiously awaiting our garden update, so sit back and take in the view from our garden!  It’s been 10 days since we have had any rain, and we need it badly.  Our rain barrel is close to being empty and desperately needs to be filled back up again.  We also have a huge garbage can placed next to our rain barrel to fill that up, once the rain barrel is completely full.  I just switch the gutter extension hose from the barrel to the can…presto, instant rain container that I just dunk my watering can in!  I think we are supposed to get some rain later today, and I am keeping my fingers crossed on that!  Our grass is even starting to dry out from all of these hot humid temps.  We are just doing our best to use only rain water that we collect for watering the garden to cut down on our water bill, and this has definitely helped tremendously!  You can not imagine the amount of water you use when gardening!

Other than our constant battle on a daily basis chasing off the Chipmunk we named “Chip” from our garden, we have not experienced any issues yet and everything is coming along nicely.  Nikita has been very helpful in chasing away “Chip” and the birdies that sneak under the strawberry netting.  We have seen a few white garden moths around and they usually like cabbage, so I did some reading on Pinterest and a lot of people are stating that we can minimize and/or rid these moths with just plain flour, by sprinkling it on top of the cabbage.

NIKITA SNEAKING UP ON A CHIPPIE IN THE GARDEN

We had some nice garden soil left over from the garden, so we decided to add the rest of it (and get it off the driveway as I am tired of looking at the blue tarp already) to our backyard flower bed behind our garden.  This spot is now the home of all of our pumpkin plants.  I forgot to count how many pumpkins we have planted back there (and I will be planting about 8-10 more this week) which range from Connecticut Field Pumpkins, Jack Be Little Pumpkins, and the famous Red Warty Thing Pumpkins.  Since this flower bed looked 100% better, just by adding the nice dark garden soil around the pumpkins, I decided that I would finish the garden bricks around this bed.  Man oh man, this totally completed the garden area with beautiful results!  I could not wait for a certain someone to come home from work to see what I did, and when he did, he was WOW’d!

PUMPKIN BEDS

RED WARTY THING PUMPKINS

Our Romaine Lettuce has finally had a growth spurt.

ROMAINE LETTUCE 6-24-13

The cucumbers are coming along nicely.

CUCUMBERS 6-24-13

The zucchini has its moments, and some days the leaves turn a little yellow, but that is from all the rain we had been getting, but they are green again.  And today, I looked really close and I think I can see a really tiny zucchini forming!  Yeah – zucchini bread is on my mind!

ZUCCHINI 6-24-13

We finally have sight of small Big Boy Tomatoes this week!  Yeah!  As you can see, you can tell the difference from a Big Boy to a Juliet from the shape.  Big Boys are round, and Juliets are longer in shape.  The Juliets usually sprout in groups of 8-10, so you can just imagine how many we are going to harvest this year!  Nice!

BIG BOY TOMATO

JULIET TOMATO BUNCH 6-24-13

This Juliet Tomato plant is now over 6 feet tall!

6 FOOT JULIET TOMATO

Our Flat Dutch Cabbage is growing by leaps and bounds.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 6-24-13

Both Red & Green Peppers are multiplying daily.

RED PEPPER 6-24-13

And our Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce will be picked this week!  Parts of our two rows of leaf lettuce has gotten so big that it is now ready to eat!  Gotta stock up on lots of salad dressing now!  Look at that row of lettuce, nice eh?!

LETTUCE 6-24-13

So there you have it, our garden update for the week!  Everything is coming along nicely and we can’t be more pleased with its progress!

BEE BALM

WILD FLOWER

The flower bed is also popping with colors, from our Russian Sage, yellow wild flowers, Bee Balm, Cat Nip, and our hot pink Phlox just bloomed today.  Our Coreopsis will probably start to bloom in July, so just a little more time to wait on them!  We snuck about 8 pumpkin seeds in this flower bed too, and although we knew better to not plant them, we did, and we were not surprised that when the deer roamed in the other night, they nipped down about half of them.  We knew it was coming, we just kept our fingers crossed that they would not find them, they did.  Live and learn.

Summer would not be the same if we did not have a garden.  This is something that we truly love!

Preparing for the Arrival of Fall

Seasons change, that’s true, and lately we have been watching our Summer slip away and Fall is quickly sneaking in.  Gosh, I still remember earlier this year when we were still in the planning stages of starting our first garden and how excited we were.  We sat at the kitchen table and drew out our garden on paper with all the correct dimensions and figured out how many seeds we could plant, figured out all the material we needed from Home Depot to build our raised garden, and bought all of our seed cells and soil to start our sprouts indoors.

Now, as we look at our garden we can tell that it is almost time to say goodbye to our fruitful crop of fresh veggies that we have enjoyed all season, and then it starts all over again next year.  With Fall quickly creeping in on us, we need to start gathering seeds from our garden that we can use next year.  We are saving all of our red pepper seeds, cilantro seeds, and the seeds from all the dried out marigolds as we dead-head them.  We had so much fun with our marigold seeds that we saved from last year, as we started a bunch of them in a small pot and transplanted them into one large pot for one beautiful display of color.   Marigolds smell so good and they are deer resistant too, so if your flowers keep getting chewed up by the deer, try planting some marigolds!

We also planted strawberries for the first time this year and some of them did not take, but we did get a great many of them that grew into beautiful plants and they all have long runners all over the flower bed they are in.  When you plant strawberries for the first time, you will not reap any strawberries from them for the first year, so next year will see strawberries on our plants.  If anyone has planted strawberries before, do you know what you need to do to the strawberry plants when the season ends to prepare them for the winter months?  If you have any tips on how you cover them up, let us know!  We definitely know that we will need to put some sort of netting over them next year when they start producing fruit so the birds and chipmunks won’t eat them!

Here’s some great photographs of our garden & what’s going on in our pumpkin patch!

With the seasons changing, it also means that Nikita will be shortly working on getting her winter coat.  We can tell that she has been losing more hair lately and we know that her winter coat will soon arriving.  But, if it was not for the FURminator, we would have more hair on the floor than in the brush.  If you don’t already have a FURminator, you need to get one!  This brush really removes hair and since she has two coats of fur, this works well with removing the undercoat too.  The FURminator comes in many different sizes, so choose a brush that will work best for your dog or cat.  We got the larger one for Nikita since she is a bigger dog.

With the seasons changing, it also means that you need to get your house ready for the colder months.  It is better to start checking into these things now so you don’t have to do any of this when it is freezing out.  Have you checked around your doors to see if they need any caulking to keep the cold air out?  Putting weather stripping around your doors and windows also helps keep out any drafts.  We have also used those window film sheets that you place around your windows with double-sided tape, then use your blow dryer to shrink the film and this keeps out a lot of drafts and saves on the heating bill too!  We were surprised the first time we used this film (and yes, you can still see out the window) as it definitely kept the rooms warmer, so we definitely recommend products like this!  You also should start up your snow blower and get it ready for winter, buy some gasoline (when you can find it cheap), and get your snow removal items ready.  We bought an ice scraper for the driveway a few years ago for about $24 and we don’t know how we lived without this thing.  It it a heavy metal scraper that you use on the driveway to scrape and chop the ice off and it also works well on removing those hard packed tire snow tracks.  You just run it down the packed snow and it pulls it right up off the drive, then use your snow shovel to push all the mess away.

If you decorate your yard for Christmas, this is a good time too to climb up on your ladder and get all of those hooks placed on your gutter now so you can hang your lights.   Who wants to do this when it is snowing outside?  Not me!  Check your lights to make sure that they all light and replace any bulbs that burned out, also since you don’t want to head outside to turn off your Christmas lights when it’s snowing, make sure you have invested in an outside timer that you can set to come on when it gets dark, and goes off automatically to the time you preset.  We did our entire front yard bushes with LED white Christmas lights last year and also included LED icicle lights for the gutters.

We love watching the seasons change as it brings so many different things to do, but we could do without the snow shoveling.  Oh well, it happens though and we can’t stop the seasons, but we will be ready for next year and will have lots of fun planning our next garden and perhaps will include some celery, different tomato plants (like Juliet tomatoes) and whatever else new we want to explore.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest – Enter Today!

ENTER TO WIN!

With Halloween’s arrival of only 108 days until the witching hour, we decided that we should hold a “Pumpkin Carving Contest“.  Starting today, you have one week to email us your photo’s of your carved pumpkins (we know that all of you have tons of photographs of those awesome pumpkins that you have carved over the years) and the cutoff date for photo entries is 7/22.  Then, on Monday 7/23 we will post all of your pumpkin photographs for you to vote on your favorite!  We will keep the voting open for one week and on 7/30 we will announce the winner!  So, what does the winner receive?  They will receive a Halloween Skull & Web Doormat!

So, start looking through your photographs and pull out those awesome pics of your carved pumpkins and submit your entry to us today!  Good Luck

P.S. – If there is a tie in votes, we will post the finalists for you to vote on again to determine a winner! 

It’s Heating Up In Our Garden

Well, July has arrived and so has the HEAT, just what our garden needed to give it a huge growth spurt.  Everything in the garden has really taken off, not to mention so have all of the bees, wasps, and yellow jackets that are swarming around.  It has been quite difficult lately to do any gardening during the day because of the amount of the bees, so we have to wait until later in the day when they seem to taper off a bit.  Mommy is allergic to bee stings, so she is being very careful when out by the garden, and she is concerned too that I might get stung, and we don’t want that.  Daddy does not seem to mind the bees, but is still avoiding them when they are out in full force. 

Daddy has still been doing a lot of fighting with the little furry Chipmunks that continually visit our pumpkin patch.  He plants a few seeds, and the next day that little Chippy has pulled them out and eaten the seed, and then blatantly leaves the empty seed on top of the soil for him to find it.  Grrrr!  The Chippies did the same thing to him when he planted more zucchini seeds – he planted a few seeds, checked on them in a few days only to find them pulled out and eaten (again) by the little furry vermin.  He said that “this is getting old” and they better stop doing this.  Well, the majority of our pumpkin plants have taken off and have grown quite a bit, so it appears that the Chippies don’t nibble on them when they get to a certain size, but….getting them to that “certain size” was the problem.   We even started 10 more pumpkin seeds in peat pots indoors about a week ago, just to get them ready to head outside later today for planting, so we hope that they survive the Chippy attacks! 

NOTE TO GARDENER’S:  We heard about a really cool trick to ensure that your pumpkins get “pollinated”, even if the bees don’t do their jobs.  The trick is to pollinate the pumpkins yourself by using a Q-Tip.  You just take the Q-Tip and twist it around inside the male flower of the pumpkin, then swipe it around the inside of the female flower.  Whala, instant pollination!    We have never heard of this before, so we are going to try it out and we’ll let you know how it works.  If we would have known about this last year, we could have had more pumpkins! 

We just noticed the other day that we are starting to see our cherry tomatoes ripen and Mommy is really excited to see that!  She needs to stock up on Italian Dressing now for sure, as she is anxiously awaiting her first salad with them.  The Beefsteak Tomatoes are getting bigger with all of this heat, but we have not noticed any ripening ones yet.  Daddy’s onions have grown by leaps and bounds and we have noticed how big they are getting as they push through the soil and expose a little bit of the onion.  But he knows to cover them back up with a little soil until they are ready to be plucked from the garden. 

The cucumbers had a very shaky start, and if you remember, we started a lot of our plants indoors.  But, we found out the hard way, that we started them way too early indoors, and when we took them out to the garden, they seemed a bit wild.  So, we let them go to see what happened.  Well, we saw what happened….they died, well, most of them did anyhow.  So, Daddy replanted seeds directly in the garden this time and we now have a huge cucumber crop that is erupting on one end of the garden.  The bees are definitely doing their job and have pollinated the majority of the cucumbers already as we can see from how large some of them are getting. 

As for the zucchini plants, they have “Gone Wild“, not growing wildly, but rather they have had a tremendous growth spurt with the heat and rain we have had.  We can see a large amount of little baby zucchini’s starting to emerge and we are tickled pink to see that.   Mommy can’t wait until the day that she can pick a zucchini and make Zucchini Bread for Daddy, and she will definitely share with you the two recipes she has for a) regular zucchini bread, and b) chocolate zucchini bread.  (betcha you can’t wait for those!) 

We forgot to mention also that we even have four Cantaloupe plants doing very well and we can’t wait to see how they produce for us this year.  No Chippies took down these guys!  (phew

Our Red Warty Thing Pumpkin is growing like it is on drugs or something.  We check on it one day, then by the next day it has grown bigger.  The stalk on this pumpkin plant is huge, not like the other pumpkins we have growing whose stalks are thin, so we’re unsure of why the stalk is so large, but who cares – this thing is awesome!  We are anxiously waiting to see the first sight of a red warty pumpkin to emerge, as these are supposed to get to about 20+ pounds in size.

So, like we have mentioned, it is heating up in our garden and we have lots going on, and with us being “first time gardener’s” we are truly proud of what we have grown so far, have learned a lot along the way, know what works and what does not, but by far we have loved every minute of it and can’t wait to do it all again next year. 

 

Edible Landscaping

Over the weekend, we had the chance to pick our first batch of leaf lettuce and the results were tasty!  Grandma came to visit and she got the first batch of clipped lettuce.  Daddy was so proud of being able to finally clip something from the garden that we grew. 

We are starting to get nice sized beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and our red peppers are now forming, along with a few really small jalapeno peppers that we will use in our homemade salsa, and we even have a little cucumber that has emerged.  Ah, the pleasures of watching your garden start to produce veggies is awesome!

 

 

 

Our red warty thing pumpkins are getting bigger every day, and it is amazing to see them every morning because we feel that these guys do all of their sprouting at night.  We have four red warty things now growing, three in a container, and one in our flower bed.  We so can’t wait to see a pumpkin start forming from these seeds, as the red warty thing will be reddish-orange in color with “warts” all over it, so this will be something interesting to see, not to mention, very cool to carve for Halloween! 

Our Jack Be Little pumpkins, that we started indoors under the grow light, are coming along nicely as well.  They are forming incredible leaves and will be blooming shortly.  Jack Be Little pumpkins are those small pumpkins that you see piled up at the grocery store in Fall and make adorable decorations around the house.  Finding out how many we will produce will be interesting, but we have lots of these planted so our chances of a nice crop will be good. 

Mommy was on another creativity trip again this weekend and made an American Flag out of a pallet.  She started ripping apart a few pallets awhile ago to make a potting bench, but this process is going so slow because pulling a pallet apart is really hard, so she decided to take the few pieces she did have and make an American Flag to hang on our fence by the garden to give our backyard a patriotic look.  She used four pallet strips to make the stripes and painted them.  She did not paint all the way to the edge, rather just lightly added the paint to the strips to make a more aged look.  Then, she cut a piece of another pallet strip in two pieces, and nailed the red & white pallet strips to thee two pieces in the back to hold the strips together.  And lastly, she cut a small square out of pressed wood, painted it blue, then hand painted a few stars on it, and lastly she nailed the square on top of the red and white strips.  Now, the flag hangs on our fence and adds an adorable patriotic touch to our garden area.  So, if you have a pallet just lying around, try making one for yourself! 

We finally got rain over the weekend after about four weeks with no rain.  The lawn and garden was in pure heaven as the rain fell.  We have been working really hard to keep our lawn “green” as we watered every day with the sprinkler – we had to because we fertilize our lawn and did not want to burn it and have our grass look like hay, like most of the lawns do in our neighborhood.  All in all, we were so lucky to receive this rain, as it has made everything in the garden jump for joy, not to mention it gave them all a growth spurt! 

Mommy will let you in on another project she is working on that involves a different kind of cement.  She is experimenting with it right now, and once she perfects the process, she’ll show you what she’s up to. 

We had such a great weekend, with visits from Grandma and Auntie, visiting Grandpa for Father’s Day and Grandma even gave me a new toy – a Minnie Mouse!  Ever since Grandma gave me Minnie, I play with it every day and even take it to bed with me every night.  That Grandma of mine is so thoughtful as she has bought me about 1/2 of the toys in my toy box!  Thanks Grandma!

Red Warty Thing

Growing pumpkins in your backyard goes hand and hand with the arrival of Halloween.  We decided last year to start growing our own pumpkins just to see what we would get out of our plants, and we were happy to see that we produced a 20.6 pound pumpkin!  We had a little problem with some critters (aka chipmunks) that either ate the small plants as soon as they came up out of the ground, or they dug in the dirt to chomp on the seeds, and then we had a deer problem too who ate half of our pumpkin vine one night and stunted the growth of our little kins.

So this year, we have once again planted more pumpkin seeds in the backyard like Big Daddy’s, Connecticut Field, and Jack Be Little Pumpkins (the smaler little pumpkins you pick up in the grocery store).  Just the other day while at Petitti’s Garden Center we found the coolest looking pumpkins ever – they are called Red Warty Thing, so we decided to pick up a pack & see what happens when we plant them.  The Red Warty Thing pumpkin is just what the name implies, it has lumpy, red-orange skin.  This is a very decorative pumpkin that adds color and rich texture to a fall display.  Putting the name aside, Red Warty is excellent for eating with it’s sweet, stringless flesh.  How to plant the Red Warty Thing:  Planting Depth – 1/2″, Spacing – approximately 6′, Days to Germination – 6-10 days, Weight & Size – approximately 20 lbs and 14″ diameter, Maturity to Harvest – 110 days. 

So, today we are going to plant some of these Red Warty Things and see what happens and we’ll keep you updated on the progress of them.  Wish us luck!

Also, we have more than a 1,000 of our Connecticut Field Pumpkin Seeds available for sale if you would like to try growing some nice sized pumpkins in your backyard this year.  So if you want a nice 20+ lb. pumpkin to carve this year, check out our seeds!  Click on the banner below to purchase!